Sometimes It Goes A Bit Wrong...

8.31.2006
Ore : 6:11 PM

I've dealt with real trolls. One guy in particular really used to get my goat -- aone of those hilarious online Heinleinian types. Would never cop to being a Randroid as he was keenly aware of how idiotic most self-avowed Objectivists are; he nevertheless projected the kind of image they in their fevered brains wanted to project themselves. He liked the sex, the drugs, the rock and roll. Was an atheist. But he loved Bush, and had a real mean Hitchensian streak: Once when I got into a rather hairy discussion with him about the whole Horatio Alger thing, you could just feel the hot spittle hitting the monitor, could just feel the near inchoate banging on the keyboard as he insisted, nonsensically, that he was a truly self-made man: no teachers, no parents, no friends who helped out in a pinch, no assistance in any way shape or form from any filthy and possibly Red government agency. The guy was a blue-ribbon fruitcake (yes, I did enjoy goading him...)

We continue to come across variations of this guy during our intertubes shuffling.
Perplexio is not such a guy.

But guys like the former have over the years made me so sensitive that I forget that there are people like Perp around. Part of me feels somewhat bad for engaging him; I tried very hard not to jump to conclusions. I never once called him names, or dealth with him snidely. I nevertheless bristled at his responses, so informed they seemed by the talking points of such muffinheads as Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.

Don't get me wrong: Perp is nowhere near as vile as those two. And though he is "socially" liberal (as though the idea of things social existing completely apart in a vacuum from things political is somehow tenable -- he's nowhere near alone in this kind of thinking), he is not the freakishly compartmentalized conservatarian I described in the first paragraph.

My take, after reading his blog? Perp's a decent guy. He likes good music and a good time. He writes well, and takes particular care against typos. He is most certainly not a batshit insane wingnut conservatarian. If there's any illogical compartmentalization going on, it is IMHO born of an unfamiliarity with certain issues, not some willful assholery. But
he writes the same things they write and say (albeit with more civility), so basically, it was hard for me not to be a smart-ass. I hope I pulled it off. Anyway, I can only speculate that he's Christian for the reason most people are Christians: their parents were, they poked around emotionally and spiritually for a bit, decided it was a fit, and called themselves Christians. He's probably a Republican for the reason many are Republicans: their neighbors and and families were, the voices saturating the media are traditionally right-of-center, and the spin being underwritten by hundreds of corporate slush funds-cum-think tanks is simply too powerful to be overcome by opposing viewpoints; so they decide to be what they perceive as one of the White Hats, the good guys -- not one of those demoncrat lieberals who come up with promotional flyers for homosexuality at their weekly abortion parties. It's understandable.

It's certainly the only explanation I can come up with for the glaring lack of evangelical nuttiness, and right-wing vitriol and contortions of logic, and the many examples of skill and sensitivity in Perplexio's talented and thoughtful writings.

Whatever. Tell me what you think:
Here is an encounter we had at Tornwordo's fine blog, as an example. Now here is our little exchange on Katrina, here at Freedom Camp:

[Perplexio]: If Bush is guilty of letting NOLA down so are Ray Nagin and Governor Blanco. There's plenty of blame to go around and putting all the blame on Bush is as good as givng Blanco and Nagin a free pass for their role in how badly the whole mess was handled.

[Moi]: perp: trying to spread the blame around is tantamount to attempting to give Bush a free pass. I suggest you read Palast's findings more and with greater perspicacity before deciding on the level of the Bush administration's lack of culpability.

In New Orleans alone (let's not forget about the rest of the Gulf Coast), 1,500 hundred people were essentially left to drown. The levees were the responsibility of the Army Corps of engineers; the Bush government chose to gut their budget for building and repairing levees. 6,000 LA national guard should have been on hand with their high water equipment; the Bush administration, in an act of calculated political cowardice, chose to avoid having to call for a draft by mobilizing and sending to Iraq the national guard of many states. It was FEMA's job to formulate and implement an evacuation plan; the Bush administration chose to install as head of FEMA a man with no qualifications, and chose to place him under the direction of the incompetent who runs Homeland Security -- furthermore, the only excuse we're given for why there was no evacuation plan was that "it got lost."

And for the record, does the bullet never stop at the Oval Office?


I'm sorry if that came across rudely, especially in the last question; I'm no ogre. I don't thing he's evil or malicious or of the devil. But accusations of condescension and presumptuousness be damned, I do believe he is misguided. We each think the other's wrong. And how many times have we seen this argument presented by real nutso right-wingers (often with a flurry of misogynistic and racist overtones)?

Maybe neither Perplexio nor I have a grip on even the majority of the facts, but to reinforce my point here, I think Perp is wrong in that he seems to misunderstand fundamentally the roles of various levels of government. So just to make the source of my ire somewhat clearer: Katrina and its aftermath could only have been handled by a federal government. If a five-block fire breaks out, or you've got a rash of neighborhood home burglaries, then yes, you should expect your city or county to handle it. If a wildfire is ravishing Mendocino, then the first responders will be the CDF (to be sure, I also think it's fair, depending upon the damage wrought, to expect some federal assistance.) But in the event of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane bearing down on a heavily populated area, you're dealing with the potential devastation of entire cities: you're talking hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives at stake; you're talking property loss and damage in the tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars. You're talking about destruction on a scope that is far too large to be in the bailiwick of any state or municipal government -- such an instance requires the resources and manpower commanded by nothing less than a federal government. You know, the kind of resources and manpower that can fund two simultaneous, massive, long-term foreign wars.

Yet for some reason the response to Katrina was worse than lackluster. It was worse even than sluggish or embarrassing or incompetent -- although don't mistake me as I think it was all of those things, as well. No, it was worse than all those put together because it was callous. Nasty and callous.

The not-giving-a-shitness was so extreme that in the end no one in the Bush administration, least of all the President himself, gave a shit until long after they had already realized it was politically necessary to present the appearance of giving a shit. There was no evacuation contingency, but plenty of FEMA trailers for survivors weeks later. There were no troops or FEMA personnel or federal agents helping to clear out hospitals and rest homes, and driving or escorting transports out of the city, but there were plenty of mercenaries guarding businesses and private homes afterwards. There was no president until many days after one was needed.

There was no response when the warnings went out. There was a response sometime after the poll numbers dipped.

Perhaps Blanco and Nagin were not as on the ball as they should have been. This is to be expected. They were in the middle of things; Nagin in particular was poised to be a direct victim of Katrina. Washington, however, was not. And the onus is on the government at the national level to take the lead, to have competent people heading FEMA, to have an evacuation plan in effect, and to take the lion's share of the responsibility in dealing with a disaster of this magnitude.

I'm sorry, Perp, that we disagree. You seem a good guy, the Christian Republicanism thing notwithstanding. But what can I do? I'm pretty much convinced that the future of my country is at stake.

But don't think I'm not glad to have encountered you. Those wingnuts I mentioned? I don't have to search for them. They're everywhere. You, on the other hand, are rare.

So I'm sorry if at any point I came across as being vicious or bitchy. Friends?

posted by teh l4m3 at 6:11 PM | Permalink |

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Comments for Sometimes It Goes A Bit Wrong...
now the 2 of you are supposed to have make-up sex.

I'm pretty sure that's against his religion. And mine, which forbids sex with Republicans.

You're right about Perp. He's a good guy. That being said, I tend to agree with you on "our country being at stake". lol with the make-up sex.

I agree with your assessment too. Perplexio does a good job of being civil and arguing his position. Sadly IMO, his position is staked in ground that was lost long ago. It was the idealic land of Fair Play governed by the Honorable Hey Wait A Minute, Let's Be Reasonable. Karl Rove killed it off and then ate it for a mid-morning snack.

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